*Side note: Just as I mentioned in my post about my physical fitness journey, I also appreciate that this is a very sensitive topic and varies highly from individual to individual. It is such a personal experience and I am so thankful to anyone who reads this. I am not here to preach my experience and coping methods on anyone, I will never write a post with the aim of dictating how other people should live their lives.
So you might have read my first post about how I have redefined my definition of physical health and how I have change my approach towards living a healthy lifestyle. In that post I mentioned how my battle with anxiety has been a big contributing factor in how I approach my physical fitness journey.
I think it is only fitting that my next post focus on my struggle with mental health. Mental and physical health are so dependent on each other- as soon as one isn’t being looked after the other immediately is set off course.
If you haven’t read my post about physical fitness please read my first blog post. I will be solely focusing on my journey with anxiety and its impact on my mental health on this post.
How long have I had anxiety?
I am sure anxiety has always been a part of me. The point at which I first realised that something bigger than I could ever explain was emotionally brewing in me was around the time I was 9 years old. This is when I developed separation anxiety- specifically I was terrified that my mom would run away and leave me. I had no rational reason to think this- after all anxiety doesn’t operate on rationality. My mom was and continues to be one of the most supporting and loving people in my life. She always looked after me and was a constant presence in my life. She was someone I could count on. However that didn’t mean anything because the separation anxiety kicked in and rationality went out the window.
I luckily overcame this challenge (one of the one million ahead). However the anxiety didn’t stop there, and it manifested itself into various forms in the years to come. My anxiety has and at sometimes still does vary from the fear of death, to the fear that I have a terminal illness, to the overwhelming sensation that my friends are upset with me. I struggle with social anxiety and my biggest challenge is constantly feeling anxious about the future and not being able to control it.
The truth is my anxiety has led to some of the most painful memories, but I was the one who created those memories.
I have already said this in my previous post and I will say it again:
Anxiety is not a choice but we choose how we manage it.
No one chooses to have anxiety, the same way that no one chooses to have the flu. When you have the flu you want to get better because it is unpleasant, and the only way to get better is to look after yourself. Well the same thing applies to anxiety or any mental health struggle for that matter. Of course it is not as simple as getting rid of the flu.
Anxiety will always be a part of me, even when I am at my best, it lies dormant within me like a volcano- it could erupt at any second. I must always check in with myself and I cannot ignore that anxiety is part of who I am.
What are some of the ways I manage my anxiety?
One of the biggest lessons I have learned through my self-discovery journey in the past year is that just like I have allowed myself to have self-love for my body, I have allowed myself to have self-love for my mind.
I used to feel so guilty about having anxiety, to the point where I would feel anxious about being anxious.
So basically I would torment myself quite a lot with feeling bad about feeling bad. It is such a waste of energy and time. Anxiety is so mentally gruelling, and part of looking after our anxiety is accepting that it is there. Now, at times where my anxiety starts to peak, I immediately accept it and remove the extra unnecessary layer of self-hatred.
Now, I have a great sense of appreciation for my anxiety. Yes, life would be a lot easier without it and given the choice I of course wouldn’t ask to have it be a part of me. However, I give myself a pat on the back for all that I have accomplished despite my anxiety. I feel so strong because of it, and it makes me feel like no matter how tough life gets I can get through anything (after all I have made it this far despite some serious hardships along the way that were heightened when I didn’t look after my anxiety). I also appreciate that my anxiety has attributed greatly towards the empathy I openly provide to every person I meet. Because of my anxiety, I truly empathise how difficult life can be for everyone because of mental health battles.
Love yourself and cherish all of your accomplishments, we all deserve self-acceptance (that is the toughest battle in my experience with anxiety).
Once again, please do not hesitate to message me through the ‘contact’ form with your experiences or any questions you may have for me.
I kept this post shorter than the first one as I honestly could write a book with everything I have to say about anxiety. It is very difficult for me to open about about it but I am sure in time I will share more of my experiences with you all 🙂